On your knees, below your knees, above?

Posted: May 27, 2016 by souldysfunction in General Sports Rant, MLB
Tags: , , ,

You may not have heard that Major League Baseball has two very distinct rule changes on the table that could go into effect as soon as next year. It’s more of the ‘lets make baseball faster because we are a one demand culture and can’t sit still long enough to pick our noses’.

Seriously people WTF is wrong with half of you that you complain a baseball game is too long? First didn’t you pay good money to go to one and want your moneys worth? Second If you are watching at home you have a million other things that could occupy your mind for the ‘not so action moments’.

I digress lets talk about the new possible rule changes that will make it so someone with ADHD and the attention span of a gnat can watch a baseball game.

First rule change purposed: Moving the bottom of the strike zone to the top of the knee instead of the bottom of the knee.

At first this doesn’t seem like much to the average person. Let me tell you though as someone that plays in a baseball league a pitch at the knee is way easier to hit then a pitch below the knee even by a few inches. This knee jerk reaction rule change is because hitters are complaining that there are too many low strikes and the bottom of the zone is not consistent. Seriously…. Let me say first one of the things about baseball that is so very unique is the fact that the ‘Strike Zone’ is nearly never the same from umpire to umpire. Don’t believe me watch any ESPN game with the nice little zone graphic. You’ll see balls called strikes and strikes called balls in different places every single game, hell sometimes it changes mid game(Let me tell you THAT SUCKS). Okay so the hitters are complaining that too many low strikes are being called… well shouldn’t that be more along the lines of ‘Lets get our Umpires to be consistent with each other so that everyone knows what the strike zone is no matter who is behind the catcher? Heck we have K-Zone and all the other pitch location tracking systems (StatCast is even eligible) that can accurately show where a pitch is. Why aren’t Umpires being held to the same performance tracking as the players are, and if they are (since MLB is really really protective of umpires) why are we still seeing the same umpires making terrible calls? Even the review Umpires are horrible half the time. So moving the bottom of the strikezone up isn’t going to help the Umpires be more consistent. You also have the fact that strikeouts are going up at a steady pace since the 1970’s while the average ERA really has stayed around the same.

1970 to now:

  • NL strikeout rate went from 4.9 to now 8.1 per game while ERA has stayed between mid 3’s to mid 4’s.
  • AL strikeout rate went from 4.4 to now 7.9 per game while the ERA has stayed between the same mid 3’s to the mid 4’s.

Here is my question, if ERA has stayed the same but strikeouts have gone up who’s fault is this the batters or the low strike??? Right now people are striking out at an alarming rate and no one seems to care that it’s the hitters that haven’t changed. It is not the pitchers or a low strike that is causing this, it is the fact that hitters no longer are looking to put the ball in play. They are looking to hit a HR or nothing and swinging for the fences with two strikes. I mean look at Trevor Story, the Colorado rookie, sure he has 13 homeruns but he also has 67 strikeouts in 184 plate appearances. That is a 36 percent strikeout rate and you are trying to to tell me it is the low strikes fault for this? Should we just put a pitching machine out there to speed up the game? Sigh… stupid stupid stupid.

Second rule change purposed: Automatic intentional walk without the pitcher making any pitches.

This one I really can’t even wrap my head around. I understand for the people watching on TV that 4 pitches out of the zone to walk a batter is boring. The only thing is it only takes like 30 seconds to do. For the people at the park they don’t care as they paid for the tickets and the game can go as long as it can. Another thing have you watched half the pitchers throw to a catcher standing up? Most of the time the pitcher looks so out of sorts and makes a pitch that is nearly missed or is missed by the catcher that anything can happen. The other thing about this is the amount of ‘pitch around walks’ that are not cited as intentional walks but are simply the same thing.

Doing some research this is what I have found:

  • 15 times in baseball history have batters HIT an intentional walk pitch last one by Miguel Cabrera in 2006 (reference)
  • 6 intentional walks have been issued with the bases loaded resulting in a run scored

Here is the only think that I will give this rule proposal: Walks per game have stayed around 3 per game (Unless you are the 2016 Cincinnati Reds) for the last decade with Intentional Walks have actually dropped from 0.3 per game to under 0.2 per game in the same time span(exception here as Joe Madden blew that out of the water when his Cubs played against Bryce Harper). As long as the pitch arounds don’t become intentional walks saving the pitchers pitch counts then I guess it’s fine, but I’ll bet money that you will see many more ‘no pitch thrown’ intentional walks if this rule goes into effect then you do now.

Now neither of these rules have been voted on by the rules committee so as of now they are just proposed but I really think this ‘lets speed the game up’ mentality is going WAY to far. You want to make the game faster? Make it so there aren’t so many pitching changes in a game. Make it so when there is a pitching change it doesn’t take 3 minutes for the new pitcher to ‘jog slightly fast’ from the outfield to the mound where he gets another 8 pitches after warming up for 3 batters. Hell cut down the time the teams get to change from offense to defense, it doesn’t take that damn long to walk from the batters box, grab your glove and hat, and run out to your position.

SD Signature


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